Podcast of the Week: SMARTBoard Lessons Podcast

June 14, 2008

As part of my still being formed routine to get back into the habit of blog writing, I am making it a point to publish a review of a podcast once a week. I do this for several reasons. Once of which is that i am addict of audio. I play jazz while I teach and I always have either iTunes or the TV playing. I cannot handle silence. Another reason is that two years ago my school began actively integrating iPod technology into our classrooms. By this I mean that we have issued iPods to our students and are actively working with our teachers to open to the all possibilities that this technology permits.

Another technology that my school actively promotes are Interactive White Boards, specifically SMART Boards. For this reason I cannot think of a better way to connect these two technologies than to make my first podcast review one that combines these technologies.

SMARTBoard Lessons Podcasts

The SMARTBoard Lessons Podcasts is engaging, entertaining, and educational. Podcast hosts Ben Hazzard and Joan Badger provide great lessons plans, links, and music. The lesson plans are often geared toward specific disciplines; however, they can often be adapted to various courses. At the least the lessons demonstrate tools and tricks that a teacher can use or have their students use to make the IWB more than just a projection screen. Joan must spend as much time on the the internet as I do, not necessarily a good or a bad thing, as she always has a couple useful link for teachers to check out. The links are always helpful and often are some type of Web 2.0 application that can be combined with the IWB. The two hosts work great together and provide an entertaining product. Regardless if you are a teacher looking to improve your SMARTBoarding skills or an educator considering the purchase of such a board, this podcast should be a regular part of your iTunes download.

Favorite espisodes include:

Episode 126 Cause and Effect Commercialism
Episode 121 Combining SMART Recorder and Voicethread
Episode 99 Which gave me a Jeopardy Templete

I realize that these are all recent episodes, but i promise I have been listening to this podcasts since the first ten episodes. I’ll blame it on short term memory.

Keep up the good work Ben and Joan.

Enjoy your day,


Making Decisions

October 7, 2007

So I was all geared up for the school year. I had roughly outlined my lessons for the semester, pretty happy about this since I have two new classes this year. I had outlined several blog article topics. I had also help several new teachers set-up ClassBlogmeister accounts. My summer of planning new ideas and learning new methods was ready to unfold. Then I logged-in to my school computer.

Blocked. Website Problems

In reviewing many of the sites I used last year and some of the new sites proposed for this year this is what I saw. I do not mean to add to the growing list of educational blog articles complaining of filtering; however, I must express my frustration and plan for this school year. I spread to many people at NECC this new blog site because I was frustrated with not being able to update my EduBlogs site; a problem since corrected by the addition of a new server. I choose WordPress because it is what my wife uses and I previously could read her blog at my school. This is no longer the case.

My dilemma is two fold: blogging and wikis

What to do about my blog:
I like the use of both sites, especially since EduBlogs has upgraded with the addition of a new server. However, I shared with many people my WordPress site. I also transferred my postings from EduBlogs to WordPress. Unfortunately the WordPress site looks horrible at school. I am trying to demonstrate the advantages of such applications, but the site looks bad. But if I transfer back, then what about those readers outside of my school? Will I loose readers, all twelve of them, if I just back to EduBlogs?

After weeks of debate I have decided to post on both sites. I realize the time I will waste, but until a proper solution can be determined this is what I have resolved at the best action.

Wikis:
I have grown to find several applications of wikis in the classroom. Since this type of site is often new to my students I must demonstrate its use. I also had a grand idea of using wikis to share lesson plans between teachers at not only my school, but other schools. Unfortunately Wikispaces and PB Wiki are blocked. I found it interesting that while I began debating my options I stumbled upon an article in Today’s Catholic Teacher an article specifically siting these sites as preferred wiki sites. Nothing against Susan Brooks-Young, the article is great and she is clearly educated in this topic, but I found it interesting that a site devoted to Catholic teachers, I teach at a Catholic school, notes for use the sites I have been told are not appropriate for education.

I have looked into creating a new wiki on a different website; although I feel that Wikispaces and PBWiki are great sites and hate to leave. Then in browsing various wiki sites I noticed that in over thirty wiki sites the only ones blocked are those I made popular at my school. I wonder if our filtering service would even know they exist had it not been for my students. I know they do not know the power within these sites. At least Susan knows and I trust that someone is able to enjoy the sites.

I am working without webmaster to integrate wiki technology within the schools web server. He tried MediaWiki and the requirements exceed our current system. However, Miguel Guhlin recommended to me PMWiki. You will know if this works because I will be ecstatic.

This is where I am. Now back to sharing the ideas from my class.

Preview of posts to come:

iPod magic–students actually reviewing vocabulary
SMARTBoards–I get to play with some fun new products and so do my students
NECC 2008–proposal is in, now we wait

Enjoy your day,

Kyle


The Discussion of Web 2.0 and School 2.0

June 26, 2007

So I am a little frustrated because I have been better about typing blog posting, but I have not been able to submit them because by old blog has been having issues. After giving it some time I have decided to abandon the old site and create a new site. I will be uploading my previous post just as soon as I can get logged-in to the site. Anyway, on to bigger things.

Yesterday I particiapted in a great full-day training session with SMART Technologies (post to come). Our school began using SMART Boards shortly after I began at the school, and I have had a SMART Board for a year and a half. I do not want to ruin the anticipation post divulging my content now, but it was a worthwile session.

Considering this, today was my first day at the sessions at the GWCC. I started of with a bang. I attended the Web 2.0 panel discussion hosted by Gwen Solomon of TechLearning.com with Timothy Magner, Will Richardson, Lynne Schrum and David Warlick. The quality of the information sitting behind the tabel is great. Also of great quality is the variety and quality of ideas in the audience. The overall theme I took away from the discussion is that we must demand and force a change in the education system. The views from the panel represented an empowering statement. Will Richardson make the statement of the day by saying that blogs and similar technology empower students by creating real work. The problem lies in the “yeah, buts”. To me this is a great attitude. While plenty of people are willing to embrace new technology, too many people allow obsticales to deter their motivation. This to me in the problems.

I agree with those who stated that school is in need for reform. To me this is a leadership issue. Either you are willing to adapt and make the change or you are not a leader. I admire school districts such as Garrett or Gary Brown from Sydney who spoke during the session. Apologies for the first name, difficulty to hear somethings clearly. Mr. Brown explained how his district choose not to battle with blocking websites and opened everything. Rather than just stick their head in the sand, they educate their students on the information available on these site and their administrators use this technology. This is great leadership. ( Mr. Brown, send me your email and I will not only correct your name, but would love to stay in contact with you.)

Aside from leadership is the issue of models. I agree that colleges are the best at resisting change. As Gwen Solomon stated currently exists a need for models. While many in education are doing great things, we need to provide universities with models to use for training purposes for upcoming teachers. So I encourage everyone reading this blog to email Gwen with your best story. By sharing the stories we can change the culture and begin the EDUCATION REVOLUTION.

Below are my published under GoogleDocs and I will soon have the podcast recording I made.

Enjoy your day,